How can I make my teaching fun when I'm following a syllabus?
Do you want to use fun games and liven up your English classes, but you can't? You might be following a set curriculum, and only have 1 hour a week. There's no time for any games! You are not alone, many teachers are following a syllabus. A textbook or syllabus is a huge help to a teacher. Imagine if you had to think up every lesson from scratch? The textbook creators have spent months working on these books, ensuring progression is gradual, and all the basics are covered. So having a textbook is a time-saver for you.
My ESL games are perfect for use alongside any syllabus or book. Look at the upcoming unit in your book and see what vocabulary and grammar is being presented, and what is revision. Those words and structures are going to be what you work on using games.
Here's how I proceed in a typical lesson. I usually start the lesson teaching something new, when the children are fresh. I start by using some listening games to introduce new vocabulary, or new grammar. (I never introduce new vocab and grammar together, one or the other, so pupils are not overwhelmed.) Students hear the new language repeatedly during the listening game(s). During this time they are memorizing the meaning of the word and hearing the pronunciation.
Then move on to speaking games where students have a chance to try these words out for themselves. These would be easy speaking drills that are disguised as games. Through repetition students remember.
And NOW you open up your textbook and read the unit. You can also play reading games at this point, where kids race to find target words or grammar in the text from your book.
And finally you do the written work that is required. There are writing games which are more effective than gap-fills and many textbook writing tasks.
The result of teaching in this way is that pupils will actually have learned the stuff in the unit. Usually when kids sit there and follow a textbook for an hour, it goes in one ear and out the other. I've met so many children at the start of secondary school in France who can just about say "My name is Sylvie, I live in Saint Denis, I 'ave a dog" and that's about it. Then you find out they have been learning English for SEVEN years, several hours a week, and you wonder how it can be possible that they know so little. It's frankly an achievement to teach in such a way that the children are literally prevented from learning anything!!
So please give my games a go. Email me for help anytime. If you have a big class you need to be careful about keeping noise and excitement to acceptable levels. There are calm games that are suitable as well as handy classroom management tips. Giving fun lessons is harder work for the teacher in that it requires more energy, BUT the results are so much better and the pupils so much more motivated, that the pleasure gained more than outweighs the extra effort required.
And email me for help anytime!
Shelley Ann Vernon
Teaching English Games